This picture can help you win a prize... more info below
3PP was started in 2009 after realising I had become restless as writer and contributor at several tech sites. Returning my attention to Renaissance art and history after having studied both many years ago, what I have been proudest of is how each post represents a new challenge for learning, sharing information and resources. My very first post at 3PP, about Ancient Greek architect Phidias and Alma-Tadema, was quite basic, and my readers at this early stage were curious friends from my past projects humouring me by having a look in.
A very wise woman once said blogging is all about learning. Most posts at 3PP do not come fully formed, but are sparked by something I read, a documentary I've seen or a post read elsewhere. The great advantage of publishing online is its immediacy. The wonderful way bloggers can respond to other posts and new developments eclipses anything that can be done in other media at such a low cost, reaching a potentially large audience with little infrastructure beyond having access to a computer with an internet connection.
The humanities online, and in particular art history has changed vastly since the maudlin post at the art history newsletter Why do so few art historians blog? The growth in art history related sites, and art historians embracing the web has gone up markedly, particularly since 2009 - a trend I noticed whilst working on my ahdb online humanities census project. 3PP has been proud to be able to play a small part in this. As with anything that achieves a degree of success, some assistance from others to help 3PP continue to improve was invaluable. Such links are the foundation upon which strong online communities are built. Readers respond to writers (online and otherwise) who reflect a passion in what they do and care about their feedback.
Earlier this week 3PP received its 200,000th pageview. Whilst not an astronomical number, it is a good deal more than I had planned when I started 3PP. Particularly interesting is the rate of growth, with 3PP now averaging 20,000 pageviews a month. Whilst the look and content of my site partly explain why people may come back, it can not be denied that the true attraction for visitors to such places online is the ongoing fascination with art and history. I have to thank Raphael, Giorgione, Caravaggio and the House of Borgia as much as anyone else - they are what lead people to this site!
Here's a Top 10 of interesting 3PP facts:
1. Most popular post (via pageviews)
A Medici Assassin in a digital Renaissance - my art & history focused introduction of Assassin's Creed II and the amazing short film Lineage, depicting the assassination of Galeazzo Maria Sforza. link
2. Most popular interview (via pageviews)
Interview with Vicky Alvear Shecter. link Vicky's interview was great fun and very informative. Her new book, Cleopatra's Moon is coming out soon, more info at Vicky's fabulous and amusing blog, History with a Twist.
3. Most popular post on Renaissance art/sculpture (via pageviews)
Donatello's David - banishing the dark ages with a skinny bronze link
4. Personal favourite post
The elusive truth of art historical inquiry was a great personal milestone. It represented a new area of learning, and a commitment to presenting accessible information on the processes of art attribution - an unendingly fascinating topic! link
5. Most inspiring feedback from an art historian
Marcia Hall's kind comments about how my review of her book and her interview gave her an inkling of the wonderful positive influence her work has had on others.
6. Most inspiring feedback from a student
Young J. from Antwerp, whom quoted some points from a post of mine whilst on a tour of the Louvre with his family. His tour guide was so impressed with his keen interest in art, he bought him a Louvre catalogue! link
7. Fact checking faux-pas I'd rather forget
Unfortunately, these happen to the best of us. Luckily due to the ease of editing online, and my diligent readers they can be sorted quickly. The one which sticks in my mind was my addition of an image to the lovely guest post by Mary Jo Gibson on the Borgia diarist, Johannes Burchardus. A little fatigued and mentally preoccupied at the time, I did not do sufficient checks into a Titian painting and accepted a mistaken label from another website identifying Giovanni Sforza as one of the figures in the piece. Thanks to art historians Monica Bowen and Sergio Momesso, this was quickly cleared up. link
8. Most exciting 'discovery' - Botticelli's Exploding Cucumber
Thanks to some help from a mysterious archaeo-botanist, I was able to demonstrate to a Sotheby's Institute researcher his claim that Botticelli's Venus and Mars contained a hallucinogenic plant known as Datura Stramonium was incorrect. This plant actually hails from Mexico, and was not recorded to arrive in Europe until the 16th Century. link
9. Most exciting collaborative adventure - Deciphering Cicero via Twitter
I was mostly a spectator on this one, as classicists around the globe conferred on a Pompeii inscription mentioning Cicero. It highlighted the great, inclusive and spontaneous potential for collaboration on Twitter. link
10. Best perk of being an art history blogger
I would have to say it is getting to know some wonderful art historians, historians, artists, students.
A milestone post should have a prize - hence I am delighted to be offering a copy of Marcia B. Hall's amazing The Sacred Image in The Age of Art. You can read a full review here.
How to Win:
You need to email me the answer to this question to be eligible to win. Please do not leave your answer in the comments!
Q. Which famous Rock group features a reference to Raphael's School of Athens on an album cover. What was the album name?
Hint: it was a double album
Entries close July 31 2011. Winning entry with correct answer will be drawn at random so no rush to get in quick! Winner will be notified by email.
I am happy to send the book anywhere in the world with a decent postal service!